Random thoughts on most things from A. M. Craig.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

How to Buy a New Phone

A friend of mine asked if I could help her find a new phone. She was asking about Verizon, but the ideas apply with any carrier. Here is my advice.

Dear Anna,

I'm honored.

For Verizon, you should consider...

1) The iPhone. Can't go wrong. I'm holding out for the iPhone 5, which will most likely come out next Fall. If you can wait for that, it may be your best, most long lasting option. If you have to get one now, the iPhone 4 is a excellent choice. There is a good reason it's so acclaimed. It's a fantastic piece of hardware, and they're great about taking care of their customers. You pay for it, but you get the best.

2) An Android Phone. There are several to choose from, and each will have it's own strengths and quirks. I have an HTC EVO. It was the hands down best phone on the market for about three days, then the iPhone 4 was announced. It does everything I want, but the battery is an Achilles heel that almost had me returning it to the store. Make sure the battery life will work for you, and think about the things that you do the most on your phone. Camera important to you? Physical keyboard? Maybe you just want something that's small. Go to the store and try out a few. There are always features from my previous phones that I like and look for when shopping for a new one. Also, there are pitfalls from previous phones that I try to avoid.

If you're looking for a tool to help, I'd check out these sites.


You can select the features that are important to you, and it will narrow down the selection on which devices have those features. The site as a whole is a great community for exploring and discussing consumer electronics past, present, and future.

If you're looking for a service plan that works for you, check this out.


It will import your usage info from your existing provider, scan the plans available, and let you know which one will meet your needs for the least amount of money, all told. They also help with advice on most other major expenses in a person's life.

Again, make sure to handle one before you buy.

As for non-Apple, non-Android phones, I hear the new Windows phones are really slick, but honestly I've never handled one. I've never heard people complain about their Blackberries, but I've never heard people talk about how much they love them, either.

If at the end of the day, you really only want to talk on your phone and send texts, then don't worry yourself with getting a bleeding edge smartphone. I've been seriously considering getting a simple phone that only does calls and texts. There is a price to pay for being wired ALL the time, and I'm wondering if it's worth it to me anymore.

Hope that helps, and hope you're doing REALLY well.

Your Friend,